The 4 P’s of effective marketing

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Power pharmacy profits with the right products, price, position and promotion

In brief:

  • The 4 P’s marketing model looks at product, price, position and promotion to guide decisions
  • Successful marketing depends upon finding the right mix of these four elements
  • By testing and monitoring, you can determine what works well for your store

Marketing simplified

Marketing can have a dramatic impact on a pharmacy’s success.

However, marketing can be daunting for any business owner, particularly for pharmacists who don’t have a background in the field. But a simple model — the 4 P’s — developed in the 1960s by marketing professor E. Jerome McCarthy, can guide any business, including independent pharmacies, in creating a successful marketing mix.

4 P’s

Look at your business with these four factors in mind:

  1. Product. The first decision is what products and services your business will offer. Think about what problems you can solve for customers, and how what you offer will be unique. A good inventory system allows you to monitor which products you’re really selling and what is just sitting on the shelf, stealing space from a more profitable product. Make informed decisions about products by staying up to date on the latest developments in pharmacy and monitoring what your competitors are doing — or failing to do.
  2. Price. Your wholesaler can help you price products competitively in your area. When setting your prices, look beyond a product’s cost to the value you provide. Customers may be willing to pay more or pay out of pocket for products or services that they consider valuable because of convenience or results
  3. Position (or place). Customers need to see the right product at the right place at the right price to make a buying decision. Position decisions range from where to locate your pharmacy to which products to place on endcaps each week. (See “3 Reasons Not to Ignore the Pharmacy Front End.”)
  4. Promotion. You can’t just place a product on your shelf and wait for customers to discover it and purchase it. As a pharmacy owner you must promote your products.The good news: You have a wealth of options for promoting products, from emails to billboards, bag stuffers to radio ads. Marketers know that customers usually need to see a brand multiple times before making a buying decision, so reach out in multiple ways. Promotion isn’t just advertising — it includes educational tips you post on social media and the diabetes class you offer. (Check out the Health Mart® Marketing Hub for ideas.)

3 more P’s

Pharmacy marketing consultant Bruce Kneeland suggests another three P’s as a “pharmacy marketing litmus test” for owners thinking about ways to promote their stores. Ask yourself whether your marketing plan is:

  • Practical. Before you begin, ensure that it will fit your pharmacy’s budget and workflow.
  • Professional. Judge whether the plan will project the image that you want to convey about your pharmacy.
  • Profitable. The only way to know whether marketing works is to track the results.

Whether you make marketing decisions yourself or work with someone else, take the time to think about how what you plan fits into all the P’s of powerful marketing.